The information technology industry is making rapid strides in India and across the globe. According to a recent report by Nasscom, India’s IT industry is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 12 to 14 per cent during 2016-17.

No wonder it is considered as a promising and lucrative career choice by thousands of university graduates. The importance of this sector cannot be over-emphasised.

Realising that IT proliferation can dramatically change, the government is laying huge emphasis on digital literacy. This self-sufficiency was predominantly due to the fact that the outsourcing requirements from overseas clients grew at the rapid pace during the 90s and the first decade of the new millennium.

As job market expanded exponentially, students, mostly from engineering courses got easy placements and the organisations took care of grooming them according to client requirements.

This burgeoning opportunity also attracted the aspiration of standard university graduates towards a career in this field. Responding to this market demand, the late 80s and 90s saw huge growth in the number of private training organisations providing IT education to sections of youth.

Over the past few years we are observing another churn in the training industry. With rapid technological advances on service delivery, the skills required are changing dramatically.

Today, most organisations are moving away from their traditional model of mass hiring, huge spends on incubation training and maintaining surplus bench strength.

They are now looking for talent who are capable to be accessible on a “Zeroday-deployment” model. As this message flows out to career aspirants, they are looking for specific and short term courses rather than yearlong comprehensive career programmes.

Most training organisations have adapted to this new requirement and are offering the model of “flip classroom” to spend more time on self-study than an instructor led programme.

With better knowledge, aspirants are well informed about skills that are required in the industry and therefore demand the same from training providers. The higher education architecture in the country mostly offers degrees such as BTech, BE, MCA, M Sc, with respect to IT engineering from the technical perspective. But the practical and hands on aspects of technology and its application into our lives are often overlooked in university curriculums. Add to this, a complete lack of scenario based teaching, and inadequate infrastructure, especially in public institutions explains the growing concern about high rate of skill gap among graduates.

New-age careers in IT demand a fast paced, dynamic approach, progressive vision, and quick adaptability skills towards the advent of emerging technologies.

Going forward, disruptive tech innovations such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, internet of things, cloud computing and cyber security offer highly interesting avenues for aspirants in this sector. Demystifying the “next big opportunities” in the sector needs amplified levels of education, skilling (and re-skilling) and domain knowledge.

This is where IT certifications and training can play an increasingly important role in enhancing career prospects. In today’s dynamic work environment, acquiring professional qualifications and degrees are important, but to equip yourself with the right certifications can take your career to new heights altogether.

These certifications could be a wide range of subjects such as data security, networking, virtualisation, storage, project management, big data, mobility and cloud network administration, and so on.

They enhance your resume and tell employers that you have the right skills for the job Advanced level training courses, online educational programmes, and certificates help you learn more and groom yourself into a valued professional with a well-rounded foundation of specifics.

With the horizon of information and communication technology rapidly evolving with each passing day and India Inc moving towards a digitalised economy, not only students but potential employees and even employers in the domain feel the need to constantly upgrade skills to stay relevant and in competition.

To acquire skill sets based on your interest areas short-term courses and certifications are great options to prominently establish your competency towards a special area of expertise.

On the other hand, the subjectivity of classroom education cannot be underestimated, especially if you are opting for a long term career in this field. Embracing a sustainable balance in a more comprehensive and time-specific manner can be the ideal way out for the newage IT education.

The writer is regional director, comptia India